Monday 10 Feb 2014Carbon Nanotubes Fibres: processing, structure and properties

Professor Alan Windle FRS - Department of Materials Science, University of Cambridge

HAR/170 (3D Visualisation Suite) 15:00-16:00

Carbon nanotubes have some similarities with rigid polymer molecules, such as those which form mesomorphic phases, although they are even more rigid. Routes to forming fibres from carbon nanotubes bear similarities to those developed for high performance polymer fibres such as Kevlar and Dyneema. In that the nanotubes are aligned as they are processed into a fibre form, while in dilute solution. As with Kevlar, the solvent required to form lyotropic dopes based on nanotubes are rather vigorous. An alternative route to make carbon nanotube fibres, is to draw and align entangled nanotubes in gaseous suspension: as an 'aerogel'. A description will be given of this process, where fibres are drawn directly from the CVD reaction zone where they are synthesised, coupled with an examination of their structure and properties. The possible role of carbon nanotube fibres in fibre composites will be examined briefly, as will the possibility of forming fibres which are themselves a composite of nanotubes and back infiltrated conventional polymers.

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